One of my favorite parties took place last week, a week that seemed to get busier the closer to the end we got.
‘Party at the Pyramid’
I found myself humming the Bangles 1985 hit “Walk Like an Egyptian” as I approached the Louisiana Art & Science Museum for its “Party at the Pyramid” gala Oct. 3. Always one of the season’s best parties, this year’s version celebrating the 50th anniversary of LASM’s acquisition of a 2,300-year-old mummy didn’t disappoint. Giving the mummy a run for his money as the star of the evening, though, was the sculpture created from more than 6,000 balloons by featured artist Jason Hackenwerth.
So did Sue Turner, who came as Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile. Ms. Sue is one of those responsible for rescuing the former train station that is LASM, and, in the beginning, the gala was a costumed affair, a tradition she continues to uphold. Aside from Sue, my “date” Melanie Uzee and I visited with Diane and Johnny Tate, Laurie Stoma and Leo Verde, Ann Guercio, Carole and Charlie Lamar, Jane Kirkpatrick, Laura St. Blanc, Fairleigh Jackson, Bill McMillin, Edy Koonce, Melissa Parmalee, Jessica Boone, Jean Marie and Frankie Savoy, Angelle David and Ned Fasullo and daughter Mary Joy, who provided the evening’s entertainment with the Fabulous Big Band Orchestra. As you might gather from this list, a very diverse crowd attends this gala, which is what makes it one of the best parties every year. So, kudos to chairwoman E r rin Flynn and her committee — Aimée Kilpatrick, Christopher Aronstein, Juliet Boyce, Scott Ritter, Dan Bergeron, Lance Hayes, Nicole Duet Latiolais, Kelli and Eric Troutman, Nikki and Casey Crawford, Susan Polow czuk, Mendi Robinson, Brei Delahoussay and Leighton Thorning.
Gala on the Bluff
Before we headed home Friday night, Mel and I popped into the Southern University College of Business’ 12th annual Gala on the Bluff at the Belle of Baton Rouge Atrium. The place was rocking as Harry Anderson & the Jazzy Jazz Band had already taken the stage. They were soon joined by jazz violinist Michael Ward, one of my favorites.
Special guests at the gala included honorees Greg Foster, Metro Councilwoman Denise Marcelle and Warren Valdrey; former Southern football great Aeneas Williams; acting Southern University Chancellor Flandus McClinton Jr.; and doctoral sponsors Louis Henry and Agnes Andrews.
Serving as emcees for the evening were my buddies Bob René and Michelle McCalope, who was also autographing copies of her new book, “Good Job.”
With only two events, Friday was actually a slow day. The same can’t be said for Thursday, which kicked off with the first coffee of the season for the Woman’s Club. Featured speaker was Bob Mann, 2014 Louisiana Political Hall of Fame inductee and author of “Daisy Petals & Mushroom Clouds.” The book looks at how the world of political advertising was changed by a single commercial aired during the 1964 presidential campaign between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater. The “Daisy Girl” spot only aired once, during Monday Night at the Movies, and was seen by 50 million people all at the same time.
Welcoming guests at the door were Lana Merliss and Polly Williams. Assisting with the coffee were Jackie Kreutzer, Karen Rimes, Rosemary Lane, Mary Ladner, Lois Saye, Debra Tarter, Pat Richards, Mae Belton, Cheryl Hall,Diane Finley and Pat Pike.
The Woman’s Club coffee ended just in time to get to Bengal Belles. The River Center Ballroom was packed with women decked out in purple, gold and pink. This luncheon was sponsored by Woman’s Hospital and was to raise awareness about breast cancer. A collage of photos of Bengal Belle members who have survived this insidious disease was introduced by chief Belle Aimée Simon at the beginning of the luncheon.
WBRZ Sports Director Michael Ca u ble filled in for Gordy Rush as master of ceremonies, lobbing questions at players Melvin J ones, Lamar Louis, Connor Neighbors and D.J. Welter. Always a learning experience, we gleaned Connor has a thing for Disney movies, in particular “Pocahontas” and “Frozen.” That confession got him the coveted Bengal Belle cookies, baked by Dorothy Richard.
‘Black Light Affair’
Over at the Varsity, supporters of Youth Oasis gathered Oct. 2 for the “Black Light Affair” benefit concert, a twist on the typical black-tie optional gala. Youth Oasis is the city’s only emergency shelter for homeless, runaway and at-risk kids ages 10-17.
The night included a costume contest for the best ’80s-theme look and music by the Chee Weez.
The rain eased up late on the afternoon of Oct. 1 just in time so I didn’t have to wade to Karnival Krewe de Louisiane’s royal toast and tour of Mary Bird Perkins - Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center. Introduced as 2015 king and queen were Glenn Kidder and Charlene Montelaro. Frank McArthur will serve as ball captain and Whitney Vann as grand marshal.
In leading the toast, board President Lance Lemoine said, “May you party like a rock star the night of the ball.” After the toast, center staff took everyone on a tour of its new $23,000 expansion.
To view photos, please click here.
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